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Thread: How to Replace an Upper Control Arm on a Gen 1 & 1.5 - Dial Up Beware

  1. #1
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Default How to Replace an Upper Control Arm on a Gen 1 & 1.5 - Dial Up Beware

    Okay, the new control arm is in, the pictures have been uploaded, and you are on your own (joke).

    Here are the pictures with commentary. This is a gen 1.5, USDM model but I suspect all gen 1 & 1.5's are the same world-wide on this but I can't say for certain. If nothing else, it will give you a good start.


    The item in question. One clunking ball joint which is pressed into the control arm with no retaining clip. No option is given to replace just the ball joint by Honda or any After Market stores; the whole arm must be replaced.


    It is best to start with your trusty Honda Service Manual. This particular one covers 1997 - 2001.


    Pages 18-8 & 18-9 give the bolt sizes and torque specs. No procedure is given. I imagine it is because they feel the job is so straight forward.

    The control arm bolts are 14mm and the torque is 40 lbs-ft.


    The ball joint nut is 17mm and torque is 29 - 35 lbs-ft.


    The general work area focusing on the area where the forward control arm bolt is located. (Advanced warning for you clean engine bay buffs. My 'V is treated with undercoat from top to bottom. I received it that way. The engine by is coated with this sticky stuff that collects all kinds of dirt and grim and it will not clean off. I try to keep it grease and oil free as possible, that is about the best I can expect. So no comments about it please.)


    The bolts have been partially removed front and back in an attempt to make them stand out more.

    Forward bolt.


    Rear bolt access area.


    Rear bolt.


    A flex head ratchet is necessary for the removal of the rear bolt due to access limitations. Again, the socket is 14mm.


    These are the tools needed to remove the ball joint. The ball joint bolt shaft is tapered and has an interference fit, so it will be difficult to remove without a "pickle fork" or a press of some sort. The hammer is to drive the fork in between the ball joint and the knuckle, it may take some effort to cause it to separate but it will. The pliers are to remove what is left of the cotter pin. The breaker bar and the ratchet are of course, for the nut. You will need the breaker bar. The socket is 17mm. And yes, it is a gravel drive way, good for the constitution (and loosing small parts). When using jacks and jack stand I very highly recommend using boards to shore them up. Not all of us can afford concrete.
    Last edited by sgtsandman; 04-20-2008 at 07:52 AM. Reason: spelling
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Default Part II

    Ball joint separated from the knuckle. Note that the control arm bolts are still in so that there is something to shore up the arm while beating away at the "pickle fork" instead of doing nasty things to your wheel well interior.

    Again, this is a Northern vehicle, undercoat and rust are the norm up here. Road salt is to blame.



    The old and the new. Note: the new arm (after market) does have a retaining clip on the ball joint, so replacement is possible assuming one can find a match. The shank size is not the same as the lower joint, so no luck there.


    Tools for the install. Socket sizes are the same.


    Tools needed to seat the new ball joint shank. The petroleum jelly helps a lot in getting stuff seated properly. Something I learned from working on aircraft.

    Coat the knuckle hole and the ball joint shank. I used the old nut to seat the joint in case I made a boo boo and round off the nut. Who cares if the old nut gets trashed, it going in the trash anyway and can be removed easily enough in any case with Vise-Grips.


    Ball joint seated.


    Make sure the bushings are well lubed to prevent squeaking, in this case I used white lithium grease.




    Make sure all the hardware is installed loosely until everything is in, otherwise you can create all kinds of extra work for yourself trying to get everything to fit (with the exception of the ball joint shaft). The reason I say this is that I forgot this rule and torqued the control arm bolts before installing the ball joint. The control arm was quite stiff then and very hard to move. I had to loosen the bolts back up to get the ball joint seated.

    Okay, time to snug and torque the bolts (40 lbs-ft).


    Ball joint nut torqued and pinned. Job complete.


    Expect the complete job to take about 2 hours from set up to putting things away. Time will be less if you have air tools, which I do not.
    Last edited by sgtsandman; 04-20-2008 at 07:54 AM. Reason: spelling
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



  3. #3
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Racoon or 4hondaowner, you may want to make this thread a sticky. Your call.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Senior Member HondaSUV Mentor mezz64's Avatar
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    What are the symptoms that would alert someone to the need for this replacement? Reason I ask is I've been experiencing a clunk type sound coming from the pass front wheel occasionally when I hit a bump, could the upper control arm be the source of my problems?
    John
    ----------------------------

  5. #5
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    If you have eliminated the sway bar end links, I would look at the control arms next. Being that it is occasional, pushing and pulling on the wheel probably won't show it. If you have a long bar, you could jack the 'V up and pry under the tire to flex the suspension. If you hear a clunk, you on to something. If you can see the upper ball joint shifting, then that is it. If not, have someone look underneath at the lower one to see if they see anything. Beyond that, it is time for the shop.

    After my little demonstration/maintenance, I took mine for a spin. The clunk is gone on the left but there is now one on the right. Apparently, the left one hid the right.

    I had some one listen & watch as I slowly moved up & down the drive and they narrowed it down to the lower one on the right. That will require removing the entire knuckle to press out the old joint. While I'm at it, I'll replace the upper since I have to disconnect it to get the knuckle off. I'm not overly thrilled about it. I was going to replace the right upper any way next pay as a preventative measure. But I still have a clunk and it is annoying as heck. Too much more, and I might start behaving like Erniep.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



  6. #6

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    Wow I don't know how I missed this thread before. Really great write up man. Should be set as a "sticky" thread.

    Did this eliminate some noise for you?

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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder liquidfuel88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidflavor View Post
    Wow I don't know how I missed this thread before. Really great write up man. Should be set as a "sticky" thread.

    Did this eliminate some noise for you?
    Well this was just posted about 5 hours ago.
    David
    173,454 miles on 1/17/11 ---The End---



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  8. #8
    Junior Member HondaSUV junior in training
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    Perfect timing and great write-up, I need to replace both arms next week on a friends CRV. Was hoping it was this straightforward. Too bad the air tools won't help with those two bolts, not nearly enough room. I found it weird that the factory manual says nothing on the subject.

    Eric

  9. #9
    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidflavor View Post
    Wow I don't know how I missed this thread before. Really great write up man. Should be set as a "sticky" thread.

    Did this eliminate some noise for you?
    On the left side yes. Apparently the right side needs some work as well.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



  10. #10
    Senior Member HondaSUV Mentor
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    Wow, great writeup. I will have to get a CRV shop manual as my haynes didnt have that detailed info in it! Good job, make this a sticky.
    Too lazy to put all the crap down I have done to my car.

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